Deeply religious people have been known to say, it’s God’s plan. When something terrible happens.
The death of a child, a loved one getting an incurable disease, or any number of horrible things that happen to humans.
Others don’t believe in God but believe our lives are mapped out already and there is nothing we can do to alter it.
Are we destined to live a life already mapped out.
One of my favourite films deals with just this topic. The Time Machine starring Guy Pearce and based on the novel by H G Wells.
Guy Pearce plays a man whose wife is murdered. So he invents a time machine so he can go back and stop his wife’s murder.
Yet every time he alters history his wife still dies but by a different method.
Is there some reality here. Are we destined to live a life already mapped out. Each decision we make leading ultimately to a pre determined conclusion.
Maybe this is why modern life is so stressful. We are like a small boat fighting against the rushing currents of a swollen river.
I don’t think so.
I would ask myself why I didn’t have the desire and determination?
For a large portion of my life I had a feeling I’d not fulfilled my potential. As a boy school work came easy, my Sister had to work a lot harder at her studies.
Unless it interested me though I wasn’t bothered and managed to do enough to get by. Without that urge to be or do a specific thing there was no real motivation.
I would look around me at people I knew and wonder why they were getting promotions. How they could set up their own businesses and be successful?
Often I would ask myself. Why I didn’t have the desire and determination to do similar?
It’s not that I lack intelligence. When needed I can interact with others. Yet time and time again I find there is no motivation, no desire to do any of these things.
I need this or that to be happy.
It wasn’t until I read this article by Rafael Euba on the BBC website. Titled Why Ambition Won’t Make You Happy.
In it he compares and contrasts the outlooks on life of Don Quixote and Pancho Sanchez. One forever seeking adventure and the other content with cheese and wine.
It was then I realised. Without all those talks as a child being told I could do or be anything I wanted. I’d probably have spent a larger chunk of my life satisfied with what I had.
I wouldn’t have that feeling of I’m better than this.
Perhaps I would have been more content, instead of thinking. ” I need this or that to be happy.”
But was this life they wanted for their children really better than theirs?
Education was initially only for the rich or religious. During industrial times the children of the poor started work young in manual or menial jobs. Serving the rich and powerful.
Once this was outlawed and education became available to all. They were encouraged to “better themselves” Many parents would openly say they wanted their children to have a better life than them.
But was this life they wanted for their children, really better than theirs?
Brands are the gods we worship nowadays.
As a society we increasingly base success on wealth. To better themselves means leaving the working class and becoming middle class. Striding out from the middle classes to join the upper class.
But changing class doesn’t guarantee we will be happier and have a better life. You would undoubtedly have more money and possessions, but that leads to a different set of problems.
If we are content with what we have then there is no need to charge at windmills. To chase the Holy Grail.
Will we possibly miss out on that feeling of ecstasy when we achieve what we were told was impossible. Yes. Will we also avoid that feeling of despair and inadequacy of we don’t achieve. Also a yes!
Once we have a certain amount and believe that we should want more. We are then either setting ourselves up for disappointment or applying pressure to ourselves to achieve this. Some of that pressure is external though.
With the birth of subscription TV and the internet we are subjected to more and cleverer targeted advertising.
Telling us we need this phone and to drive that car. Live in this area and wear certain clothes.
We live in a world of big business. Brands are the gods we worship nowadays.
You’re either an Xbox or PlayStation fan. Apple or Android. Mercedes or BMW.
We are told that these advances in technology enhance our lives. For example we can now communicate with family, friends and loved ones from the first reaches of the planet.
Yet never have their been more relationships fail and people with mental health issues.
We have cars that can travel from 0-60 faster than I can walk to the end of my driveway!
But in doing so produce so many chemical emissions that have consequences to both our health and the planets.
We are told that we need the latest and newest version of everything. Even washing up liquid is marketed as being our best ever. We’ve probably been using the same one for years doing the job perfectly well.
Where once something broke and we either fixed it ourselves or knew someone who could repair it. Now it’s uneconomical and we buy a replacement.
All of it designed to get us to spend more and spend more often. Yet it’s just a few rich people getting richer the more we spend and consume.
So it’s time we started looking around us and realising what we do have and being contented with it. That’s not a bad thing.
Being good enough is enough.
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